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40 Film Marathon | Sydney Film Festival 2024 | Viewings 1-5


40 Film Marathon | Sydney Film Festival 2024 | Viewings 1-5

Words by Mitch Bozzetto
Photos courtesy of SFF & IMDB

Published | 11.06.2024

It’s that time of year again. For most people, it’s the start of a cold and miserable winter. For me, it’s the start of a warm and remarkable adventure: the 71st Sydney Film Festival. This year, they’re telling us to ‘see it your way’. Well, my way is to forget anything else exists and try to cram as many films as possible into 12 days, which means by the final day, I’ll be looking something like Alex DeLarge during the aversion therapy scene in A Clockwork Orange. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Nothing compares to being in a packed cinema with a bunch of strangers who come together as one to experience all the frights, excites, and delights the big screen has to offer.

So, sit back, relax, and let me satisfy your craving for cinema with my bite-sized reviews of 40 films from this year’s Sydney Film Festival. If you see something that sounds up your alley then go check it out and support the festival. Long live cinema!



Director | Levan Akin

Country | Sweden / Georgia / Turkey (co-production)

Lia (Mzia Arabuli), a retired school teacher from Georgia, learns from her young neighbour Achi (Lucas Kankava) that her long-lost niece Tekla, a transgender woman, has crossed into Turkey. Determined to reunite with Tekla after years of estrangement, Lia travels to Istanbul with the unpredictable Achi. As they explore the city, they meet Evrim (Deniz Dumanli), a transgender lawyer who aids in their search.

The film unfolds delicately, requiring patience but rewarding viewers with its depth. The performances are fantastic, with the dynamic between Lia and Achi shining brightly. Evrim is the stand out though with her tough exterior and soft heart. They’re the type of characters you look forward to crossing paths with. A beautifully crafted and tender piece of filmmaking with a powerful ending that leaves a lasting impact.

Rating | 3.5 / 5


Director | Yoann-Karl Whissell, François Simard, Anouk Whissell

Country | Canada

A group of young activists set out to make an environmental statement by vandalizing a home superstore after hours. Sounds simple enough until everything goes horribly wrong when they become trapped inside with a deranged security guard who has a gruesome passion for primitive hunting. What follows is a night of terror as the teens fight for their lives.

If you like your films violent and bloody with a touch of humour then look no further, this one’s a riot! The slasher scenes are the highlight, making it perfect for crowd viewing. While the Gen Z cast weren’t quite convincing, Turlough Convery and Aidan O’Hare are brilliant as our unhinged security guards. The UV light scene is so sick, and the ending delivers on so many levels. It’s a whole cruel fun and complete chaos. 

Rating | 3.5/5


Director | Will Howarth, Tom McKeith

Country | Australia

On an isolated cattle farm, a couple experimenting with biotechnology find their lives upended by a disturbing presence on their property.

The film delivers a strong foreboding tone, amplified by a haunting score and chilling cinematography. It’s beautifully shot. The sound design is also a high point. Great tension and a few cheeky jump scares for good measure. While the concept is intriguing, the script does feel a bit undercooked. However, it keeps you invested throughout, even if there are a few predictable moments. A solid little Aussie sci-fi thriller set in the beautiful countryside.

Rating | 3 / 5


Director | Jonathan Ogilvie

Country | New Zealand

Set in Christchurch, Aotearoa New Zealand, 1979, Head South follows Angus (Ed Oxenbould) as he spends a fortnight with his world-weary father and gets drawn into the underground post-punk music scene. With the support of his friend Kirsten (Benee), Angus navigates self-doubt, derision, and a family tragedy to take the stage for the first time.

This is an absolute blast and perfectly captures the cringe moments when you’re discovering a new scene and trying to fit in. Ed Oxenbould’s performance as Angus is outstanding, with impeccable comedic timing and hilarious facial expressions that provide plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. Marton Csokas is equally brilliant and just as funny as Angus’ dad. The film’s aesthetic is spot-on too, with excellent framing and editing, particularly the vinyl crackle technique. Superbly realised and highly entertaining. It was an absolute pleasure to watch this story unfold with the cast and crew in attendance.

Rating | 4 / 5


Director | María Alché, Benjamin Naishtat

Country | Argentina

In this hilarious comedy, a Buenos Aires philosophy professor’s life is upended by a charismatic rival, leading to a chaotic battle that mirrors their nation’s turmoil.

Marcelo Subiotto delivers a brilliantly subtle and restrained performance. His portrayal of a frustrated professor is complemented by a sharp script and a supporting cast that brings plenty of laughs. While some philosophical and political discussions may feel a bit out of reach, the film remains engaging and entertaining throughout. Overall, it’s a smart, funny, and insightful watch that cleverly blends humour with deeper themes.

Rating | 3.5 / 5


Mitch Bozzetto

Loves Film, Physical Media, Hip-Hop, Tinnies & Arsenal FC

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